Children Least Safe in Cars in Rural Areas Study finds

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, Go Safe Labs released a new national traffic safety study revealing the top ten least safe states for car accidents involving children. The non-profit transportation safety group’s report also concludes that across the nation, children are more likely to be involved in car accidents in rural versus urban areas – data that can inform families who are moving to new states as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Analyzing publicly available data from government sources involving over 300,000 people involved in fatal accidents, Go Safe Labs found that the top 10 states with the most child injuries or fatalities between 2015-2018 were, in order, Texas, California, Florida, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Illinois, Arizona, and Ohio.

“We want Americans to have the traffic safety data they need to keep their children safe in passenger vehicles. As families move across regions and state lines because of the pandemic, this report is intended to raise awareness of areas that data shows are less safe for children riding in cars,” said Kevin Pomplun, Chairman of Go Safe Labs. “We hope this data reminds parents to always use the appropriate car seats for their children. We urge lawmakers to work with community organizations and the private sector to make America’s roadways safer for children.”

Child Passenger Safety Technician and Founder of Tot Squad, Jen Saxton said, “Rural families have less access to in-person seat check events, so we’re hopeful that virtual car seat checks, which are gaining in popularity due to COVID-19, will be able to help reach this audience. We must protect our most precious assets: our children.”

Go Safe Labs’ research found that more children were injured or killed in rural accidents than urban ones, 57% versus 43%. Additionally, the degree of child injury severity differed by road geography: nearly two-thirds of the children severely injured across the nation between 2015-2018 were in rural areas (63% rural to 37% urban).

The top ten states and rural/urban divide accident data follow:

State

Rural/Urban

<16, Inj or Fatal

% Rural/Urb, by State

Total Kids, Inj or Fatal

Texas

Urban

527

45.00%

1172

Texas

Rural

645

55.00%

1172

California

Urban

385

49.90%

771

California

Rural

386

50.10%

771

Florida

Urban

404

59.00%

685

Florida

Rural

281

41.00%

685

Indiana

Urban

103

26.90%

383

Indiana

Rural

280

73.10%

383

Georgia

Urban

220

58.70%

375

Georgia

Rural

155

41.30%

375

North Carolina

Urban

119

34.70%

343

North Carolina

Rural

224

65.30%

343

Alabama

Urban

72

23.90%

301

Alabama

Rural

229

76.10%

301

Illinois

Urban

145

50.30%

288

Illinois

Rural

143

49.70%

288

Arizona

Urban

146

54.90%

266

Arizona

Rural

120

45.10%

266

Ohio

Urban

132

49.60%

266

Ohio

Rural

134

50.40%

266

Based on the preliminary findings that children are more at risk during car accidents in rural areas, Go Safe Labs agrees with expert recommendations to increase child passenger safety, including:

  • Age- and size-appropriate child safety seats should be universally accessible to all families.
  • Car seat safety education should be universally accessible to all families.
  • Car safety seat checks should be universally accessible to all families to reduce car safety seat misuse.
  • Existing child passenger safety laws should be updated to meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations.

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